More and more people are looking to tap into the power of solar as a means of generating their own electricity. While solar panels are suitable for 9 out of 10 homes, there are occasionally things which can prevent or limit the installation of solar panels on a domestic property. If you’re looking to get solar panels fitted for your home, there are a few things you’ll need to check to ensure your property is eligible for installation. Here’s a quick checklist of questions to ask yourself before purchasing a solar PV system.
The size of your roof relative to the area you’ll need to fit the required number of panels for your energy needs. Most UK households will need an installation which collects around 3kW of energy, which equates to roughly 18㎡ of roof space. You can estimate the size you’ll need using the table below:
|Size of installation||No. of panels||Approximate total weight||Space required on roof|
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Bear in mind the age of your current roof - is it likely to need replacing in the foreseeable future? If so, it’s wise to get this done first before fitting solar panels to it. Installers will also need to check that your roof has enough structural integrity to support the weight of the solar panels you’re looking to fit.
Also consider the materials that your roof is made out of. Composite roofing is the most common roof type for fitting solar panels, though they can also be installed on tiled roofs using raised brackets. In fact, most materials can accommodate solar panels, they may simply require a tailored fitting solution. The only roof material which is not particularly recommended is wood, due to the potential fire hazard it presents.
The angle, or pitch, of your roof does not affect your eligibility for solar panels, but it will impact the efficiency of your solar panels in collecting energy throughout the day. Similarly, the direction that you face will also affect this efficiency as the sun moves throughout the day. In the UK, the recommendation is to fit your solar panels in a south-facing direction, with the ideal roof pitch being between 30 and 45 degrees, so as to maximise energy collection.
That said, you should also consider the role that shade will play in the efficiency of your solar panels. Although a south-facing direction may be the optimum aspect on paper, that obviously won’t be the case if the south face of your property is shaded by large trees or buildings! If in doubt, your installation team should be able to advise the best solution for you.
Do you have space in your property to accommodate the inverter you need? Inverters are used to convert the DC electricity produced by your solar photovoltaic panels into usable AC electricity. Most commonly they are installed in lofts, attics or garages, but any cool, dry space should be suitable. Bear in mind the dimensions of the inverter when selecting a storage location.
You should also consider your local climate and the most common weather conditions where you live. While solar panels can still operate in cloudy or rainy conditions, their efficiency may be reduced. Consider whether harnessing solar energy is the best solution as opposed to, for example, wind energy.
In the majority of cases, planning permission shouldn’t be required to install solar panels on a property as it is classed as ‘permitted development’.
If you live in a listed building, things will be slightly more complicated. As with any property modifications, you’ll need to seek listed building consent first. Once listed building consent has been granted you may still need to apply for planning permission, but this is subject to the scale and placement of your solar panels as well as the condition of the listed property. For further details, you can contact your local council.
In the unlikely event that your property isn’t suitable for solar panels, all is not lost. Ground mounted solar panels are available as an alternative. There is also a range of other renewable products available to help you live a more eco-friendly life, such as EV chargers or our Home Cover package.
Our systems come in a range of sizes to suit your needs. Get an estimate of costs and savings using our calculator tool, then get in touch for specialist advice and to move things forward.
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